NCIS: Los Angeles Season 9 Episode 5 Review: Mountebank

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Every so slowly, Mosley and Hidoko are starting to fit in.

Oh, yeah, also Callen got himself a ward on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 9 Episode 5.

It was a busy episode, as the team also got themselves a topically relevant villain for the season in Russian oligarch Abram Sokolov. There was even a Hetty update, of sorts. So let's dig in.

Executive Assistant Director Shay Mosley - NCIS: Los Angeles

Mosley is still way too much "my way or the highway." But she does seem to be softening, somewhat.

She refused to let Callen back up Sam, sending Hidoko. Her reasoning seemed to be similar to Sam's, that the theft of Callen's Dexter Hughes identity might be tied somehow to the money laundering at the bank.

Granted, that seems to be a stretch, but the way things have been going for the team the last couple of seasons, every coincidence has to be thoroughly checked out.

Also a stretch: the banker that got murdered was in the Naval Reserve, which gave NCIS jurisdiction. That's weak, but it works.

Making Money - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 9 Episode 5

This marks the second time this season when Sam has shown off his math skills (the first was as a "Rain Man"-type investor in NCIS: Los Angeles Season 9 Episode 2). That's an unexpected but effective twist.

Still, Mosley did follow Callen's plan when it came to crunch time, using Leigha to "rescue" Sokolov during a staged shootout, which enables the squad to seize his laundered funds while putting a tracker on him to follow his future movements.

It was well thought out, but a little too risky for Mosley's taste, I felt.

This marks two straight episodes when Hidoko has been sent into the field, and she's handled herself well. Hidoko as a field agent means less time available there for Eric and Nell, but that isn't their main function. Hidoko seems to have learned to back off in Ops and let the two meerkats, as Deeks calls them, take the spotlight.

Out of the Office - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 9 Episode 5

I'm curious how Mosley would perform in the field. So far, all that's been established is that she's a crack shot. I know her position shouldn't call for much field work, but Hetty and Granger went out of assignments regularly, so I would expect that she would also.

Kensi and especially Deeks had the most fun, and that's bound to happen whenever Arkady is involved. I'm surprised they didn't find an excuse to fit Anna in as well.

As an aside, I am a little confused about Callen's living arrangements. Is he living with Anna at his house, as shown on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 9 Episode 2, or with Sam on Sam's boat? Or was he joking about moving in with Sam on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 9 Episode 4?

One of the most enjoyable scenes of this season is when Arkady took Densi to Vladlena's gambling den. It was a hoot watching Deeks clean up at poker and beat Tomo the bouncer at arm wrestling.

Kensi looked aghast because she knew Deeks would be unbearable for the rest of the episode, as he was when flashing all his hard-won jewelry at Callen.

This was goofy Deeks at his best. We've had way too much mopey Deeks lately.

Callen had his own little mission: figuring out who had stolen the identity of one of his undercover aliases. After some near-misses, he finally captured the thief, only to discover that it was a young adult male.

Murder Briefing - NCIS: Los Angeles Season 9 Episode 5

I shouldn't say Callen captured him. It was actually Nell. It's amusing that the most violent agent they have is the "Nellverine," as Deeks dubbed her.

It will be interesting to see how much Callen takes Finn, who seems like a young version of himself, under his wing. To steal Callen's alias, he's got to have some good hacking skills, which could come in handy when the team needs to do something, shall we say, extra-legal. Like Patton does, on NCIS: New Orleans. While Eric and Nell have the skills, they can't also use them, officially.

Sokolov didn't seem like an especially menacing villain, although he did have Nelson killed. Still, Russians invading the Western economy is a timely storyline and worth exploring, especially with all the Russians already in place in the NCIS: Los Angeles mythos.

Finally, the team got a sighting of Hetty. Sam's friend reported a Menehune (little forest creature), a Hawaiian leprechaun, spotted on the boat of a drug dealer. Sounds like Hetty! I wish we'd seen more of what she's up to, but hopefully, that's coming soon.

SPOILER ALERT: Deeks goes back to LAPD on NCIS: Los Angeles Season 9 Episode 6 when his former partner goes rogue, and Deeks is asked to bring him in. That sounds pretty self-contained for a change.

To catch up with the new-look team, watch NCIS: Los Angeles online.

What's the deal with Finn? Will Sokolov be back? Is Hidoko at least a good addition? Comment below.

Mountebank Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.1 / 5.0 (31 Votes)

Dale McGarrigle is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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NCIS: Los Angeles Season 9 Episode 5 Quotes

Feel free to ignore him. He's used to it.

Kensi [about Deeks]

Dexter? Never would want him to meet my sister Dexter?

Eric [to Callen]